Bill Watterson, creator of the "Calvin and Hobbes" comic strip, once said, "Nothing helps a bad mood like spreading it around." While this may feel true for your husband when he is using you as a sounding board while he vents about his awful boss, it doesn't do a thing to help your marriage reach that "happily ever after" point. His bad mood can poison the air and bring you down as low as he is. If you want to avoid falling victim to his negativity, you'll need to make a conscious effort to deflect his bad vibes.
1. Control Your Thoughts
Moods are contagious, says author Dr. Alex Lickerman in a June 2013 article in "Psychology Today." Be aware of this fact and strive not to reflect your husbands ugly mood when he comes home grouchy and complaining about the neighbor's unsightly yard. Keep in mind that you cannot control your husband's mood -- you can only influence it, says Lickerman. If you give into your own anger at your husband's negativity, you'll only magnify the situation.
2. It's Temporary
Moods are fleeting, notes Lickerman, and if you keep this in mind, it will be easier to cope when your husband interrupts your joyful description of your day to complain about how your teenage son never picks up after himself and is perhaps doomed to a life of slovenliness. Make like a duck and let his discouraging comments roll off your back, reminding yourself that in an hour, he'll likely be contentedly watching his favorite television show. If you're able, try to drum up some compassion for your husband, as he is suffering when he is so unhappy. Meanwhile, do something nice for yourself to protect your own positive vibe, such as listening to some upbeat music or taking a relaxing bubble bath.
3. Set Limits
If your husband makes a regular habit of dumping his negative emotions on you, let him know his behavior is not acceptable. Over time, this behavior can wear you down. As soon as he starts complaining, blaming or otherwise inflicting you with negativity, leave the room. Refuse to be in his company until he is able to treat you with respect and not contaminate the air with antagonistic energy. If his behavior does not start to change as a result of you refusing to listen to his endless rants about everything from the economy to the flimsiness of the kitchen trash bags, insist on marital counseling or a temporary separation until the issue is resolved.
4. Personal Safety
Not only can your husband's negativity adversely affect your emotional health, but it can impact your ability to stay healthy as well. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that people who are victims of psychological abuse are more likely to experience poor physical health. Furthermore, your husband's habit of taking his bad mood out on you could easily escalate into physical abuse if it is allowed to continue. If you believe this is a possibility or sense that your husband's bad moods have crossed the line into emotional abuse, call a domestic violence hotline or seek the assistance of a mental health professional.
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